COVID-19 Pandemic – Parent Update – 20 March 2020
Dear Parents and carers,
The Government, via the Department for Education (DfE) has now given the additional clarity we need to develop our plan for the next phase of the national response to COVID-19. This includes information on ‘Key Workers’ from ‘Critical Sectors’.
Staff and I will work on our response to this additional guidance during the day, so we can share this with you at the end of the school day.
You can find the full DfE guidance by clicking here. I have copied the key points in to this letter below:
- As a country, we all need to do what we can to reduce the spread of the COVID-19 virus. That is why the government has given clear guidance on self-isolation, household isolation and social distancing.
- If children can stay safely at home, they should, to limit the chance of the virus spreading. That is why the government has asked parents to keep their children at home, wherever possible, and asked schools to remain open only for those children who absolutely need to attend.
- It is important to underline that schools remain safe places for children. But the fewer children making the journey to school, and the fewer children in educational settings, the lower the risk that the virus can spread and infect vulnerable individuals in wider society.
- Schools are, therefore, being asked to continue to provide care for a limited number of children – children who are vulnerable and children whose parents are critical to the Covid-19 response and cannot be safely cared for at home.
- Vulnerable children include children who are supported by social care, those with safeguarding and welfare needs, including child in need plans, on child protection plans, ‘looked after’ children, young carers, disabled children and those with education, health and care (EHC) plans.
- Parents whose work is critical to the COVID-19 response include those who work in health and social care and in other key sectors outlined below. Many parents working in these sectors may be able to ensure their child is kept at home. And every child who can be safely cared for at home should be.
- If your work is critical to the COVID-19 response, or you work in one of the critical sectors listed below, and you cannot keep your child safe at home then your children will be prioritised for education provision:
- Health and Social Care
- Education and Childcare
- Key Public Services
- Local and National Government
- Food and Other Necessary Goods
- Public Safety and National Security
- Utilities, Communication and Financial Services
- If workers think they fall within the critical categories above they should confirm with their employer that, based on their business continuity arrangements, their specific role is necessary for the continuation of this essential public service.
- If your school is closed then please contact your local authority, who will seek to redirect you to a local school in your area that your child, or children, can attend.
The DfE has also produced these key principles for us to follow:
- If it is at all possible for children to be at home, then they should be.
- If a child needs specialist support, is vulnerable or has a parent who is a critical worker, then educational provision will be available for them.
- Parents should not rely for childcare upon those who are advised to be in the stringent social distancing category such as grandparents, friends, or family members with underlying conditions.
- Parents should also do everything they can to ensure children are not mixing socially in a way which can continue to spread the virus. They should observe the same social distancing principles as adults.
- Residential special schools, boarding schools and special settings continue to care for children wherever possible.